Saturday, August 6, 2011

How to find a home in Singapore

The most important thing to keep in mind before starting your house search is the kind of house you want and of course your budget . Naveen found a house in just three days before departing to India for our marriage so we decided to share our experience on how things work here .

Below are the kind of housing options available in Singapore

1. HDB

80 % of Singapore population lives in HDB (housing development board ) . They are something similar to apartments in India minus the guard . They come in all shapes and sizes . Almost in every street in Singapore you will find blocks of HDBs clustered together .

But you have to be cautious while selecting a HDB . Some of the old ones have lifts between alternate floors or do not have dust bin chutes in the kitchen , the feature which is so common in Singapore . Anyway these are just minor hitches .

The HDB are usually fully furnished but do take a note of condition of all the items in house before deciding to stay . If necessary take a pic of items just in case something was broken before and you forgot to notice it .

These HDB have their own car parks , mini park for kids , a outdoor gym ( doesn't look exactly like a gym to me ) which is for public use .

The HDBs are maintained well , once in a month someone will clean all the floor, they call it floor sprinkling here, I don't know who pays the money though . Recently ours block was repainted so you need not have to worry about living in a old looking apartment . Singapore govt is high on outer beauty !!! .

However the HDB won't have any security guards and you won't find the need to have one Singapore being such a safe city a little precaution from your side will be enough .

The prices of HDB starts from anywhere between 1500 to 2800 SGD per month .

2. Condos

These are bit high end apartments with many facilities like actual gym ( not the one shown above) ,swimming pool,tennis/badminton court etc.

The types of condos varies from normal condos to executive condos.The rent of condos starts from 3000 SGD.The main difference between condos and HDB are mainly the different facilities provided by condos over HDB,and ofcourse
the increased price.

3. JTC

Jurong Town corporations(JTC) is a company which has build HDB style houses and these are available at very low prices.

A three bedroom house can be rented for around $1800 pm which is very cheap for Singapore standards.The only hitch is they are unfurnished.
Even then it works out cheaper for people who plan to stay for long term in Singapore.

However I guess the waiting time to get a jtc owned house is long as there will be high demand for these houses.


This is a common arrangement followed by both Indians and Singaporeans alike.Because of the increased rental prices people prefer to rent out one bedroom and choose to live in rest.

This option works out best for bachelors. If you are a bachelor and have friends in Singapore then you can choose to rent out apartments on sharing basis.

If you a newcomer here and do not know anyone than the best option is to stay with a family who is willing to rent out a room for you. Usually the rental charges will be around $500 p.m. Some families also provide you with one time food and internet access.

The sharing option works out best if you are comfortable with this arrangement.Although families renting out a room in their living space to another person is very unheard of in India, its very prominent here and many opt for this option to lessen their financial burden.

The points which you should keep in mind before searching for a house is

1.How far is the place from you office?
Singapore is well connected by rail and bus network. And you are sure to find some accomodation near your work place. Its always better to get a house closer to your work place.

2. How far is MRT(rail network) from your house ?

If you cannot find a home near your office atleast try get a home near MRT. usually HDB or condos are built in such a way that there will be bus stand in every alternate block and the MRT will be not more than 15 min away from home.

3.How far is school from your house ?
The government has put in lot a planning before constructing apartments in Singapore. So usually you will all the shops,school ,MRT near your house. So make sure your house is near all these facilities.

The main question now is from where to start the procedure of searching a house.The first and foremost thing is to search online.Everything is computerized in Singapore so for the houses both the owner and the tenant will look online for help.

We particularly started our house search by going to below website- - This one has lots of ads by Indians.

This is a famous website which gets loads of traffic every minute.Once you find something on the site you then call the agents(usually its though agents) who will set up an appointment.You then go to view the house and mind you are not alone in rat race :) . On the day of viewing there will be 4-5 groups who will come to view the house.

Then you start bidding its the owner's wish whom he wants to rent out.You will be informed by the agent whether the owner has selected you to rent out the house.
Its like job searching .You go .... view...then wait patiently for the result.

This time around it took us 10-15 days with atleast one viewing on weekday and 2-3 viewings on weekends.

Before finalizing any deal be careful to check all the documents. Even though Singapore is considered to be very safe we faced personal experience of cheating.

The owner had asked to pay rent in advance .Since this happened before marriage and Naveen was in a hurry to find a house he decided to trust the owner and pay the rent in advance. All the documents seemed to be fine.

We later came to know that the owner did the same thing with may others and is currently in jail .Even though we registered a case with Singapore Police ,its been 6 months and still we have not got our money back.
So no matter how safe this place seem to be ,always be careful!!!

But then it does not end there ,the owner will try to squeeze out as much money from you on context of some stupid reasons.well ours said the bathroom metal pipe top was not clean(was does that even mean !!!) ,scratch on the floor,fridge top not clean ..blah..blah.. We wanted to move out peacefully so gave him the money but if its a unreasonable amount fight for your money !!!!

As I write this article we again changed our house because for some personal reason our owner wanted his house back. Now this time even I was involved in the process of house searching. Let me tell you its a nightmare !!!

The prices has sky rocketed in Singapore. You wont find anything decent living below $1500. Luckily for us we found a house within our budget.

The no of people coming to Singapore will not stop hence I dont think the housing prices will drop in the near future.

Good luck with house hunting.


deafknee :) said...

Hi Chaitra and Naveen,

Apologies for contacting you this way.

My name is Daphne and I would like to speak to you on a possible collaboration. Could you kindly drop me an email please? I'll speak to you more there.

Thank you!

Daph :)

deafknee :) said...

Hi again Chaitra and Naveen.

Silly me. I didn't leave my email address and I believe it doesn't show up.

In any case, could you kindly drop me an email at dap.chui[at]gmail[dot]com? Thanks!

PS: I'm legit and this is not spam :)


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